A Co-CRISPR Strategy for Efficient Genome Editing in Caenorhabditis elegans
Heesun Kim, Takao Ishidate, Krishna S. Ghanta, Meetu Seth, Darryl Conte, Jr., Masaki Shirayama, Craig C. Mello

Abstract

Genome editing based on CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-associated nuclease (Cas9) has been successfully applied in dozens of diverse plant and animal species including the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The rapid life-cycle and easy access to the ovary by microinjection make C. elegans an ideal organism both for applying CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology and for optimizing genome-editing protocols. Here we report efficient and straightforward CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing methods for C. elegans, including a Co-CRISPR strategy that facilitates detection of genome-editing events. We describe methods for detecting homologous recombination (HR) events, including direct screening methods as well as new selection/counter-selection strategies. Our findings reveal a surprisingly high frequency of HR-mediated gene conversion, making it possible to rapidly and precisely edit the C. elegans genome both with and without the use of co-inserted marker genes.

  • Received April 15, 2014.
  • Accepted May 21, 2014.